Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What Makes Me High! (part 5 of 5)

When I first started running (inside, around the track, over and over; round and round), I ran to local radio station music. I noticed that some of the songs matched the rhythm of my foot placement. I wondered if running would be more fun if all the music matched my pace, so, I created a pace-matching music mix. Some music was at a slower pace; some medium; some faster.

My distance increased, my enjoyment increased and my speed increased. Try it - you'll like it!

How to do it

  • Make a play list of your favorite songs
  • Run a short distance to each song
  • Note which songs best fit your pace
  • Note your perceived pace speed (slow, med or fast)
Find Your Beats
  • Count the downbeats for 10 or 15 seconds
  • Use a free internet app or purchase a smart phone app for counting down beats
  • Once you find the downbeat count for your paces you can discover appropriate running songs by counting their downbeats rather than test-running them
  • Create play lists to match your running paces
  • To build up your speed, order your songs so that the first couple are slow; then a medium; then a slow; then a fast; then a slow. It works!
  • When you first start running to your pace music do it in this order: slow; slow; medium;slow; slow; medium;slow;slow.
  • Start with your slowest perfect pace! Be careful on your first run - running to your perfect pace-tunes can make you run too fast which can cause injury.

Cherry On Top

For optimal enjoyment: Quietly sing along or lip sync with your songs. Although, I sing along under my breath quietly, it feels like I'm singing out loud. You can't help but feel great when you run and sing-a-long. Really!

Never has anyone stared or even noticed my singing.

Partial List of My Running Pace Music

  • A Thousand Miles / Vanessa Carlton
  • Big Yellow Taxi / Counting Crows
  • Californication /Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Come Back to Me / David Cook
  • Dance, Dance /Fall Out Boy
  • Dilemma / Nelly
  • Everything You Want / Vertical Horizon
  • Fireflies /Owl City
  • From Where You Are/ Lifehouse
  • Gives You Hell / The All-American Rejects
  • Hanging by a Moment / Lifehouse
  • Heres to tonight 4:11 Eve six
  • I Gotta Feeling / Black Eyed Peas
  • I'm with You /Avril Lavigne
  • It's Been Awhile / Staind
  • Just Dance / Lady GaGa & Colby O'Donis
  • Kryptonite / Three Doors Down
  • Lullaby 5:32 Soul's Core Shawn Mullins
  • Major Tom /Shiny Toy Guns
  • My Life Would Suck Without You / Kelly Clarkson
  • Pinch Me / Barenaked Ladies
  • Right Here / Staind
  • Save Tonight / Eagle-Eye Cherry
  • Say It Right / Nelly Furtado
  • Scar Tissue /Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Shadow of the Day/Linkin Park
  • Speed of Sound / Coldplay
  • Stop and Stare /OneRepublic
  • Such Great Heights / The Postal Service
  • The Heart Remains A Child /Everything But The Girl
  • The Last Resort /The Eagles
  • The Reason / Hoobastank
  • Today Was a Fairytale / Taylor Swift
  • Unwritten / Natasha Bedingfield
  • What Goes Around Comes Around /Justin Timberlake
  • What I've Done / Linkin Park
  • You Belong With Me / Taylor Swift

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What Makes Me High! (Part 4 of 5)

AVOIDING INJURIES: Stretches and Weight Training

Running is easy and so is getting injured while running.

Injuries occur from running too far too soon, running too fast, not resting between runs, falling, and being hit by a car or bike.

  • Build up your distance and speed slowly and gradually. Add small increments of distance each week. If you run 2 miles three times a week add distance by increasing one run to 2.5 miles. The next week run 2 miles twice and 3 miles once.

  • Your speed will increase naturally, don't force it. Running downhill is hard on your knees; slow down!

  • Watch where you place your feet. Raised sidewalks, rocks and path/sidewalk depressions are hazards if you don't see them.

  • Stretch AFTER running. When I first started running someone told me to stretch before running. The experts now say to stretch afterward when your muscles are warmed up.

  • Weight training strengthens your muscles and prevents injuries.

More information:

REI: Running Training Tips

The Stretching Institute

Runners' World The 10 Laws of Injury Prevention

Next Blog Post (Part 5 -
Music my running secret! & Sing-a-long running!)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What Makes Me High! (Part 3 of 5)

Image from wellnesstaskforce.org

Running clothes have their own form of chic. I live a few miles from Nike (and have run on their campus) so I see a lot of cool people running. Sports apparel companies define their own style. (You won't find polka dot bras or nautical striped running shoes.). But, you can find clothes in fun, stylish colors.

Choose washable, sturdy, clothes that fit well. Think about warmth in cold weather and coolness when it's hot. Even slight discomfort can ruin an otherwise great run.

What to Wear

Your first priorities are comfort and safety. After those needs are met be cute. When I look good, I have a better run. You know how your car runs better when it's clean?

My favorite running attire isn't chic it's functional.


Running shoes are the MOST important components of your running outfit. The ONLY place to buy them is at a running store.Store experts will observe how you run and select shoes that match your feet placements as they hit the ground.

I've worn the same shoe brand for 12 years. My choice: Asics Gel GT 2150 (I'm lusting for a black pair in addition to my white pair). Your running store will suggest how often you should buy new shoes and may suggest that you own two pairs and alternate wearing them.


I wear three different styles of running hats: Head covering caps for average weather or misting rain, visors for warm weather, and fuzzy-warm caps for very cold runs.

During long runs I wear this hat (it has a blinking light on the back - and it's washable)
Brooks NightLife Hat

Visors keep the sun out of your eyes and the hair out of your mouth in warm weather.
Nike Daybreak Visor

Cold weather cap like Outdoor Research Riot Cap
(OK not cool-looking, but you'll be glad you're wearing it.)


No painful bouncing boobies for me. I wear a very supportive bra that can be worn alone when it's hot.


I wear this vest over a jacket or a bra. Its mesh ventilation sides make it cool in the summer and its bright color makes me visible when crossing streets or on paths and sidewalks.


Wear short dri-fit tops over your bra if you prefer to cover-up a little.

Choose a full zipper jacket that can be easily removed and tied around your waist when it's warm.


A perfect outfit is one you never think about while running. Make sure your clothes don't ride up your bottom or slip down your hips.

Cold weather long pants:
Women's Nike Be Strong Pant


Glove liners worn as gloves will keep your hands warm during cold weather. Store them in your waist pack or your jacket pocket.


Hot weather runs are cooler when you wear
WrightSock Running II Low Sock.



I alternate between two waist storage packs.
The Amphipod AirFlow Lite Waistpack for short runs.
It holds your keys, ID, cash and iPhone.

The REI Lode Waistpack is perfect for long runs.
It holds keys, ID, tissues, cash, sunscreen, lip salve, water bottle, iPhone
and earbuds (just in case my bluetooth headphones die).


Fashion sunglasses may bounce around on your face while running. I use prescription sunglasses that hook behind my ears (so I can read the iPhone if needed.)

Next Post (Part 4: Injuries, Stretches, Weight Training)

Monday, June 7, 2010

What Makes Me High! Part 2 (of 5)

Some people run in the snow. I do not. Running is about loving the experience.

Part 2 (of 5)

I'm a hobby runner, not an athlete. Running mental and physical fitness. And, yes, style and fashion can be incorporated into running (covered in part 3). In fact, wearing a new outfit, pair of shoes, socks or even listening to a new running song can motivate you to run more often and further. More about that in part 5 of this series.

Covered in this post:
  • Good Days/Bad Days
  • Safety
  • Traffic
  • Music
  • Distance
  • Speed
  • GPS
  • Music
  • Alone or With other People

Good Days/Bad Days:
Some days you'll feels as if you could run 10 miles. Some days you'll struggle to run 1mile or less. Who knows why --bad attitude, not enough fuel, weather…whatever. If you have a bad day, remember, it’s just one day. Your next run will be better. If you haven't slept well the night before or haven't eaten enough, your run may be more difficult, but not always. The point is, just do something. Even if it's only 1/2 mile.


Where to look when running: Make sure you look at your running surface often to make sure your path is safe. I’ve fallen, splat on the sidewalk, a few times when my toe caught a sidewalk block that was raised 1-2 inches from an underground tree root. And I've been hurt from those falls and besides it’s really embarrassing.

Cell Phone: ALWAYS take a cell phone no matter how far you run. I've been hurt on runs and needed to be picked up. You never know when and if you'll need it.

Traffic: Before changing position on a sidewalk, look behind you for bikes (I hate bikes that ride on sidewalks especially when there’s a bike lane provided) or other runners coming up behind you. I've often wished there were runners' rear-view mirrors.

Always follow traffic rules. Use crosswalks. Wait for pedestrian “walk” lights.

Don’t trust cars or bicyclists. Cross streets with the light and look for cars or cyclists before stepping into the crosswalk. I've nearly been hit by cars and bicyclists who were turning right oblivious to pedestrians.

Always take a piece of ID with you and some money. (More about this later.)

Speed:One time I was running, I was so into my music, I ran to fast and too hard. When I stopped at a light to cross the street, everything went white. I held onto the pole and waited 15 minutes before the dizziness subsided. This is not a good thing.

Speed doesn’t matter.
Run at a speed a little slower than you think you can. Your speed will increase the more you run.

Music: I take my iPhone on every run. Before my iPhone, I took a cell phone and a Nano. I’ve always run to music – as far back as a Walkman. I make music combos that match the running pace I like. Some songs don’t match my pace, but they’re inspirational like “Forever Young” by or “Born to Run." Find your own pace and inspiration. (More about this in part 5 -- you'll love this -- it's my secret to really enjoyable running!)

GPS:I use the GPS on my iPhone. I LOVE this capability, but it doesn't always work where I run. An iPhone app or Nike Sensor are a good way track your progress. I'm a geek and like to quantify my progress. I use Run Keeper .

Distance: I pre-drive my courses to measure the distances with my odometer and record them on a little card I carry in my waist pack.

Decide on your distance before setting out. Add small distance increments help you increase your distance safely.

Alone or With Other People:I've run with people and alone. Years ago I had the perfect running partner. Neither of us liked to talk during our runs. She was taller and younger than I, but I ran faster. It didn't matter; we motivated each other. She moved out of town so, now I run alone.

I've run with large training groups and loved the companionship, but I run too fast with groups. Try different running experiences. You'll find your best way.

Next blog post: Part 3 What to Wear and Essential Accoutrements

Sunday, June 6, 2010

What Gets Me High!

While visiting SF a few years ago, I ran from the Presidio,
across the Golden Gate Bridge and back. What a joy!

I’m a runner. Running clears my brain, keeps me fit, makes me high; and it makes me feel accomplished.

I don't run on a treadmill; I run outside in the fresh air. I'm particular about where I run, what I wear, what I listen to, in what temperature...etc. While training for a marathon twelve years ago, I hit my personal best at 13 miles but had to stop running for six months because of an injury.

I discovered the high of running when I lived in the Rocky Mountains. I had terrible cabin fever - it snowed 9 months a year - so, to relieve my angst, I began running on an indoor running track. By adding a lap or two each run, I got up to 10 miles (using a clicker to count my laps – 10 miles=180 laps).

During my years of running I’ve discovered what works and what doesn’t and I’ll share this information with you in this post and the four that follow. Each person finds their own best way to do things, but these suggestions will get you started. If you are already a runner they may make it more fun for you.Or maybe you have some suggestions for me!

The topics that will be covered:

Part 1 (This post)

* Temperature
* Food
* Water
* Stretching
* Where to Run
* Terrain

Part 2

* Good Days/Bad Days
* Safety
* Music
* Distance
* Speed
* Traffic
* Alone or With other People

Part 3

* What to Wear
* Essential Accoutrements

Part 4

* Injuries
* Stretches
* Weight Training

Part 5

* Music my running secret!
* Sing-a-long

Temperature: My deal running temperature: 45 - 55 degrees. Tolerable: 35 - 45 and 55 - 65. I’m impressed with people who enjoy running in temps over 70 degrees. I’d love to know their secret.

I’ve run in rain, sleet, snow, and fog (all in one day); it was unpleasant to say the least. The best alternative run in bad weather is on an indoor track. (If you like to run on a treadmill, more power to you. I get too bored and hot.)

Food: Eat breakfast before running in the morning. Fuel = a better run.

Water: Bring water on hot days or long runs.

Stretching: I stretch after running and often in the middle of a run at a stop light while waiting for the walk sign. (More about stretches in a later post.)

Where to run: I run where people can see me. Call me paranoid, but isolated running scares me – I read too many news stories about weirdos. Why take a chance.

Terrain: I run on sidewalks. I’ve run steep hills; they're good for your cardio, but I think the best runs have some flat stretches and some hills. To get used to hills, run until it doesn’t feel good. Then walk until you're not winded. Run again and repeat. Eventually you’ll be able to run hills easily. Be careful, my injuries have occurred from running downhill. It’s hard on your knees.

My favorite running surface is asphalt paths and, at least where I live, they are more and more of these available.

I run trails, but only with other people. Again, fear of weirdos.

I’ve a run on tracks but, I prefer to go somewhere. My favorite run is when my husband drops me a distance from my destination (say 5 miles from the gym where he works out).

Continued in the next post...